Villa, Rangers battle for glory
Guardian Group Pride of Villa and C.O. Williams Rangers will battle at the Netball Stadium from 7:30 on Sunday night for the senior netball knockout crown.
Villa, who have never won the title and Rangers, who last held the crown in 2012, their 50th year of existence, advanced to the final with impressive semi-final victories on Friday night.
Villa turned around their sole league loss in dousing Spooners Hill Firebirds 49-37 while Rangers ignored a sub-par league to upset Pine Hill St Barnabas 53-49. Just on Wednesday St Barnabas had qualified for a three-team play-off for the league title by ending Rangers’ league season as a 1-4 struggle.
However, the presence of national shooter Nikita Payne saw Rangers galloping to an early 17-8 shocker over St Barnabas. Rangers continued to lead 29-22 and 44-37 with St Barnabas trying all kinds of combinations in hopes of pulling the game back.
They almost achieved that with a closing of the gap to 48-49 before Payne and a perfect Olivia Walcott, who sank 26 goals from 26 attempts and their defence slammed the door on St Barnabas. Six-footer Romancia Odwin-led St Barnabas with 28 of 34 with Brianna Holder in birthday mood scoring 13 of 15. That duo had replaced shooters Shanise Banfield (7/12) and Zakiya Kirton (1/2).
A game-high 39 goals from 46 attempts by the irrepressible Latonia Blackman and a supporting ten of 17 by Shakeena Rock piloted Villa to victory and closer to what could be deemed a fantastic 2018 season. With the flashy Sabreena Smith back from injury and young Chante Moore continuing to impress in midcourt, Villa moved from 12-12 to control the game 26-21 and 40-30.
Lydia Bishop (20/23) and the spirited Kerryann Brathwaite (17/23) looked dangerous as customary. However, the defence of Faye Agard and Kamillah Burke, coupled with Villa’s moving midcourt, frustrated Bishop and Brathwaite, who were allowed just 46 shots, the same number that Blackman enjoyed by herself. (KB)